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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2130

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Treatment.—If there is much pain, hot fomentations with poppy-heads should be applied, but if not it will be sufficient simply to keep the head tied up in flannel. Very occasionally an abscess may form on one side or other. This will require energetic medical treatment. Usually no medicine will be required, except a simple aperient at the commencement of the attack, and during convalescence the following prescription: tincture of steel, 1 drachm; glycerine, 4 drachms; water to 6 ozs: give 1 tablespoonful 3 times a day for a child of ten. While there is fever the patient should be kept in bed; and cold must be avoided throughout the course of the disease.

Night Terrors.—The sudden awakenings of children apparently suffering from some dreadful delusion, and screaming, generally occur during the period of second dentition, and are found associated with some error of diet and indigestion. They will soon disappear if attention is paid to the digestion, and any errors of feeding corrected. Mild purgation is advisable.

Rickets generally makes its first appearance between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. The causes are unsuitable food and unhealthy conditions of life, while hereditary influences may have some effect in producing the disease. The early symptoms are restlessness at night, and free perspiration in the head while sleeping. These are followed by enlargement of the ends of the bones of the arms and legs at the wrists, knees and ankles. The head also enlarges, and the fontanelles do not close, the forehead becoming square and prominent. The long bones soften and bend, the limbs becoming crooked, and the chest "pigeon breasted." The health becomes poor, the patient showing undue susceptibility to chills, and disorders of the nervous system.

Treatment consists primarily in removing the cause of the trouble. Nourishing and digestible food should be given, with a due supply of animal broths, fish and meat, according to the age of the child. The ventilation of the bedroom and day-room should be free, and any sanitary defects remedied. Daily tepid, or still better, if they can be borne, cold baths are advisable. Warm clothing should be worn, and as much open air and sunshine as possible obtained. The tendency to bandy legs must be corrected by splints, and by keeping the child off its legs. The only medicine of use is cod-liver oil, which should be taken in as large doses as can be digested.

Ringworm.—This disease is caused by the growth in the skin of a low form of vegetable life allied to ordinary mould. When some of the scales of a hair affected with ringworm are placed in liquid, and magnified about 300 times, the spores or seeds, and the mycelium or thread of the fungus, can readily be seen.

Ringworm of the scalp is sometimes a most intractable disease, especially when it has been existent for some time before its discovery; and its cure will tax the resources of the most experienced doctors to their utmost. Therefore prompt and vigorous treatment is essential.